Last year, environmental activists were killed at the rate of one per week—a rate that has nearly doubled in just three years. The shocking statistic comes from a Global Witness report, released on the eve of the Rio+20 sustainable development conference in Brazil—one of the most dangerous countries for environmental activists, with nearly half of the worldwide killings reported there. The report calls on the conference leaders to monitor and fight back against the increasing violence, the Guardian reports.
The deaths involve community leaders, journalists, and campaigners who work to protect forests, rivers, and land, and many cases involved governments and foreign corporations or competition over resources including gas and oil. "This trend points to the increasingly fierce global battle for resources, and represents the sharpest of wake-up calls for delegates in Rio," says a Global Witness rep. The group says the true death toll is probably higher than reported, since the results are incomplete.